Before you say anything about me being behind with my campnano project, let me explain you a thing:
This is the poster I saw on Wednesday. On my lunch break, I left the library and headed to my office. I thought about the sandwich waiting for me in the mini-fridge, and the emails I had to catch up on before running back to the library for more work - and I almost kept walking when I saw this poster. It seemed like a mirage, standing as it was on a metal stand in the dirt, and I caused a minor traffic jam when I stopped on the sidewalk to examine it further.
"There's no way Owl City's coming to USF," I said, narrowing my eyes. "I must be seeing things."
But when I got back to the office, I forgot about the sandwich and emails and researched the event. And, my gosh, it was true.
And it was happening in less than two days.
Nothing says, "OMG KIM YOU'RE GRADUATING" than the impossible happening. I've been listening to Owl City since my college days, starting with my discovery of "Saltwater Room" (I had iTunes Genius to thank for that, haha). Adam's catchy music and gentle lyrics charmed me and I became a fan for life :) In 2010, I went to my first OC concert in Orlando, and again in 2011, so I never really believed that Adam would come to USF. No one comes here, haha.
Graduate school tends to keep you busy, busy enough to miss out on a lot of events, or just completely uninformed. Finding out about Bullstock was like having a bucket of icy water thrown on me: I woke up, shocked and excited about something besides my finished thesis. My fellow MFA cohorts had missed the memo too, so I knew I'd be going to the concert alone. I studied the campus map ('cause, you know, I'm chained to one building mostly) for parking options and blasted The Midsummer Station
on my drive home.
I have a few OC shirts, but I chose to wear my powdery blue one that I had bought at my first concert in 2010. As I hung it on the back of my chair, I felt nostalgic. I had come full circle, in a way.
When I had gone to the House of Blues in 2010, I was graduating from college. The cap and gown had been ordered, honors tassels on their way, and my posters needed to be peeled off the dorm walls and put away (hopefully to be used again someday). I had no idea what awaited me after college, and I remember being worried about whether or not I'd make it into graduate school to pursue creative writing. With all that going on, I had a great time at the concert - and not long after, my worries were put to rest when I found out that I had been accepted into grad school.
So fast-forward to Friday and picture me hopping out of my car, lugging a backpack because I'm coming straight from work (and it's an easy way to hang onto a water bottle, for sure). I had driven through the rain, but the top of campus was clear save for an overcast sky. I held my umbrella like a sword and set off for the The Meadows, a stretch of lawn just beyond the college dorms. With 80% humidity, I practically swam down the sidewalks and bobbed across the streets with other students as we guessed when it was safe to cross. By the time I made it there, Bullstock was already in full gear.
There were two stages, almost side by side, and a screen in the middle that had been used to project the evening's schedule and, later, the performances, so each side could watch the show, no matter what stage they stood in front of.
The stage I picked had a few hints that seemed to indicate that Owl City was playing there: extra special effect lights, a keyboard, and a line of Hoot Owls already staking their spots up against the wall.
By the time Owl City came on, night already fell and we avoided any chances of rain. Thankfully. South of Holly, Variance, and Hot Chelle Rae were all amazing bands; despite a failed crowd-surfing moment along the way, the energy in The Meadows was electric. So were my legs, haha. Afterr having been to three standing room only concerts before, my body seemed to remember what it was like to not move for a few hours... wow. A breeze rolled through every ten minutes or so, making the waiting, dancing, and waiting again much more pleasurable. And when the lights flickered on and Owl City took the stage, the crowd went wild. For the first time, I felt like USF had awakened.
Being so close to the stage meant that each song was a little hard to hear, and it took me a few seconds to figure out what song was next. The ground throbbed with the music, hands swaying, screaming filling the humid air. And once again, I noticed how much Adam has grown as a performer. He cracked jokes between songs, interacted with the audience, and even had a few funny faces ready for the more humorous songs like "Deer in the Headlights" and "I'm Coming After You." There was a least two times during the concert where I felt my heart almost drop out of my chest, haha!
And later on, I would come to find out that, at least by twitter and tumblr's testimonies, this was the first concert that Adam had ever worn a sleeveless shirt :)
What a breathtaking, impossible concert! Even two days afterward, I'm still reeling over the timing. My usual habit of writing something before an epic event didn't happen this time - I hardly had time as it was to prepare for Bullstock. But if I had the chance to say anything to Adam, it would go something like this:
No matter how it happened, thank you for coming to USF and performing. Right now, I'm at the end of a chapter, with another just on the horizon - and here you are again, just like the last time. Very surreal, but I'm happy to have made it to Bullstock. I'll continue to write my strange, whimsical stories, crawling with ocean-washed bastions, whale-song, space hotels, and abandoned ex-planets. Keep writing your inspiring, cheerful music! There's never enough Owl City music :)